It took the Mashpee High School girls’ lacrosse team about 10 minutes of play to acclimate itself to the level of Nantucket on Tuesday, May 14. That stretch very well may have been the difference between winning and losing for the Falcons as they dropped a 15-12 decision to the Whalers at Horne Stadium.
Coach Arlene Petrunich said that the effort was her team’s “best game of the season so far” and that the Falcons “played really well... It was the most consistent game we’ve played for 50 minutes all season.” All of those statements were right on the nose, but that opening stretch was too much for Mashpee to overcome in the end as Nantucket built a four-goal cushion and never relinquished the lead the rest of the way.
MHS had a couple of chances to stop Nantucket’s early momentum. A goal scored by Mashpee when the team was down by two goals was taken off the board because the shooter was ruled to be in the crease. Moments later the home team had the goalie dead to rights from in front but the shot taken hit the goalie right in the numbers. Nantucket then went down and scored after that save, won the following draw and scored again to make it a four-goal lead.
From there Mashpee began to play at a higher level. With Anna O’Neill willing the offense along, scoring three times herself before the half, the Falcons were able to close the gap to 4-3 and tied the count at 5-5. Nantucket closed the half with two goals in the final three minutes to take a two-goal lead into the intermission.
In the second half Mashpee was in the whole way. Nantucket took its biggest lead of the half about 10 minutes into the action to build a 12-9 lead. Callia Eaton got that one right back with a scoop of a ground ball in the offensive zone that she snapped in.
Nantucket regained the three goal lead, but then the Falcons caught fire and closed the gap to within a single goal. O’Neill scored to make it 13-11 on a restart, charging from behind the goal line, on the keeper’s right, and singeing the lower corner. Mashpee then picked up the draw control and went to the goal with Tassia McGrail scoring on a snipe to the low corner that Sam Morry set up.
With time getting low, the Falcons picked up the pace on both ends, but some bad luck proved costly as Nantucket scored to regain a two-goal lead. Emily Franks sold out to block a shot with her body, but the ball hit the ground and was scooped by Evelyn Fey and zipped in past Julia Tenore. Nantucket got one more insurance goal late to account for the final score.
O’Neil led the Mashpee offensive attack with six goals in the game. Eaton each had two goals while McGrail, Ainsley Kiefer and Johnston had one each. Coach Petrunich said that Johnston’s play was key in the turnaround for the Falcons. Midway through the game she was moved from her regular defensive spot into the midfield, which made the team much more competitive in the draw control game. “It turned everything around,” Petrunich said.
Tenore was solid in the goal, making a couple of big saves. She finished with 15 overall.
On Monday, May 13, the Falcons dropped an 18-10 decision against St. John Paul II High School. The game, which was supposed to be played at Mashpee, had to be moved to Sandwich High’s turf field because of field conditions in Mashpee.
Morry and Kiefer each scored three goals in the game for Mashpee while McGrail had two. O’Neil and Dana Richmond scored one each. Tenore made 12 saves in the game.